EU and UK gear up for no-deal Brexit
Ireland’s European Commissioner Phil Hogan has warned of a “very high probability” of a no-deal outcome in the Brexit negotiations.
Phil Hogan | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual
His stark warning comes on the same day that UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt warned that without a “change in approach from the EU negotiators, there is now a very real risk of a Brexit no-deal by accident.”
Hunt, standing alongside his German counterpart Heiko Maas at a press conference in Berlin, said many in the EU believed they just had to “wait long enough and Britain will blink but that’s not going to happen.”
Hunt warned of “unintended geopolitical consequences” with just Vladimir Putin “rejoicing” if there was no deal.
Speaking separately on Monday at an event in his native Ireland, Hogan said, “It’s certainly the view of the European Commission that we should prepare for a no-deal Brexit.”
The Commissioner for agriculture and rural development, said, “The turmoil in the House of Commons is a perfect example of this recently. Even if we do a deal, will it ultimately be accepted by the House of Commons?”
However, he also said that the October deadline for reaching an agreement in negotiations is “realistic” and noted that the UK government’s Brexit white paper publication meant “we now know for the first time the British position on something.”
In the same statement, Hogan backed a “hard-line approach” in EU negotiations with the US to prevent the imposition of new punitive tariffs on EU cars, saying, “You can only deal with someone who is trying to bully you in an irresponsible way by bullying them back.”
He added, “Everyone, every nation, no matter how great, needs friends and allies. After all, Europeans built America. The US has always been able to count on Europe and vice versa. It is utter folly to test these bonds to their limits, and potentially beyond.”
Hogan’s comments came while he was participating in a citizens’ dialogue on the future of Europe. The event, which focused on ‘Beyond Brexit: Ireland in Europe – the future scenario?’, took place in Glenties, Ireland, as part of the 38th MacGill Summer School and Arts Week.
Hogan took part along with Pat Cox, former Irish MEP and ex-President of the European Parliament.
The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, but the two sides have yet to agree how trade will work afterwards.
Hunt’s trip to Germany comes at the start of a concerted push by British government ministers to sell the UK’s latest Brexit blueprint across the continent. UK Prime Minister Theresa May will meet the Austrian chancellor and Czech and Estonian prime ministers this week, saying both sides know “the clock is ticking” on negotiations.
The EU and the UK want a deal in place by October. New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said a deal could be done by October - but also that making ‘no-deal’ preparations such as hiring extra border staff was part of being a “responsible government.”
After the UK Parliament rises for the summer recess on Tuesday, Downing Street said the UK negotiating team would be travelling to Brussels while the foreign secretary, chancellor, home secretary, business secretary and the minister for the cabinet office will meet counterparts across Europe.
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